A dockless bike operator from Hong Kong called GoBee has pulled out of Europe just four months after launching in France, citing the “mass destruction” of its fleet by thieves and vandals.
In early October, Lille in northern France became the first city outside Hong Kong in which GoBee’s bright green bikes appeared.
The business also started operating elsewhere in France, including Rheims, Lyon and Paris with 2,000 bikes on the streets of the French capital, as well as in Belgium and Italy.
However, as of Saturday 24 February, it has ceased operations in France and with the service already terminated in other countries, its European adventure excursion to be at an end.
According to a report by AFP the company, which had 150,000 users in France, is clear where the blame should lie for its problems.
"Over the months of December and January, the mass destruction of our fleet has become the new entertainment of underaged individuals," said the business.
It said that across France, in excess of 1,000 of its bikes had been stolen and nearly 3,100 damaged.
In common with similar schemes such as that run by China-based global market leader Ofo, bikes are unlocked by the user through a smartphone app.
In France, GoBee bikes cost 50 cents an hour to hire, and a deposit of €15 was required to access the scheme.
The company added: "It was sad and disappointing to realise that a few individuals could ruin such a beautiful and promising project.
“We had to come to the conclusion that it could not be viable and there was no other choice for us than shutting down, nationwide.”
Its decision to pull out of France comes at a time when Paris’s own cycle hire scheme, Vélib’, is experiencing severe difficulties following a change in operator.
Since its launch in 2007, the scheme has been run by advertising giant JC Decaux but at the end of last year, French-Spanish consortium Smovengo took over its operation.
The switch in management coincided with the introduction of new docking stations, of which just 60 or so out of a planned 1,400 were operational by mid-January according to a Reuters report.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.